Mackerel Mosaic

A relief sculptural element of a mackerel as part of the “The Care Takers” mosaic.

“The Care Takers” is a natural stone mosaic installed at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. It is part of my public art commission to create mosaics for the elementary schools there. This mosaic features a strong message on environmental stewardship, inspired by the school’s strong hands-on science programs, including aquaculture and water quality issues.

The Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is commonly found in the North Atlantic. When I was growing up, shoals of them would turn up along the Rhode Island coast during the summer. We called them tinker mackerel, which I think was a reference to their size. Honestly, I can’t say that this particular piece of the mosaic is a great representation of the physiology of the species, but I still like it. In fact, this is one of my favorite things that I’ve ever made out of stone.

I don’t really do much sculptural work. It’s not something my clients need a whole lot of! I wanted this mosaic to have some relief elements and so this idea evolved. I had one scrap of this green stone, which is just so beautiful. I don’t know what it is called or where it came from, either geologically or how this small scrap ended up in my possession. The fish barely fit on the scrap. I did all of the work with the angle grinder, using a variety of blades to cut, shape, and polish the piece. The eye is a tiny black pebble, epoxied in place.

Detail from “The Care Takers” mosaic